The Sikorsky 2nd Annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge is underway. The event is organized by Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Conn., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., and By Kids For Kids Co., an organization that inspires kids to become successful inventors. The STEM-focused hands-on program teaches children about flight and helicopters. Museums around the world participate by engaging young visitors to envision the future of helicopters while at the same time learning about important scientific and engineering principles through fun hands on activities.

Children ages 9 to 16 are challenged to create the Helicopter of the Future at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. The challenge runs through September 15, 2012. Winning entries will be selected on the following criteria: concept uniqueness, description detail, and impact on the environment.

The winner receives the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award, a $1,000 scholarship and, along with their parent, will be flown to Sikorsky’s headquarters to tour the assembly line of Sikorsky’s iconic Black Hawk and Seahawk military helicopters. They will also meet with rotorcraft designers and engineers from the company.

Fifteen-year-old Tharon Trujillo from Plumas Lake, Calif., won last year for his concept of an unmanned helicopter equipped to respond to disaster relief and recovery situations.

Students can enter the competition at www.helicopter2050. com. For a list of participating museums, go to www.helicopter2050.com.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.